In an interview with JTA last week, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz insisted that Joe Biden would be a big asset with Jewish folks in Florida, predicting he would “come down and move around the bagel places and the condos.”
Well… it didn’t take long. Biden heads to Florida on Tuesday – we don’t see any bagel joints on the itinerary, but he’s scheduled to work the Clubhouse Party Room at the Century Village in Deerfield Beach. Later in the day, he’ll be hosting another town hall, at the Palm Beach County Convention Center.
And for a follow-up … the Obama campaign will be sending down perhaps the Jewiest Jewish member of Congress:
Next Sunday, September 7, U.S. Senator Charles “Chuck” Schumer of New York will visit South Florida to speak with voters about Barack Obama’s vision for bringing the change we need to America. Schumer will visit the Turnberry Jewish Center in Aventura, Temple Solel in Hollywood
and Temple Beth Shalom in Century Village in Boca Raton to discuss Senator Obama’s long-standing support for Israel and other issues of interest to the Jewish community in this election.
Schumer’s scheduled visit underscores a major development: In the primary most Jewish members of Congress were backing Hillary Clinton – this time around they’ll be stumping for Obama. And that’s a good thing for the Democratic candidate, especially in parts of Florida.
How desperate is Barack Obama’s situation with elderly Jews down in the condos? Depends who you ask. Wasserman Schultz and one of South Florida’s other Jewish congressman, Robert Wexler, sounded fairly optimistic at last week’s Democratic convention. But two state lawmakers with their finger on the pulse of Jewish seniors in South Florida, Nan Rich and Steve Geller, said the situation is bad:
Florida state Sen. Nan Rich said Obama surrogates have been “shocked” by the hostility towards their candidate they have encountered at condominiums in her area.
Steve Geller, who serves as the Democratic minority leader in the Florida state Senate and represents parts of Broward County, said he was nearly chased out of the “condos” – shorthand for retirement communities – when he said he backed Obama.
“I’ve noticed almost a mob mentality,” Geller said. “I can change people’s minds in a group of five or 10. When there’s 300 people in the room, they feed off each other and don’t want really to listen to us.”
Other members of Florida’s convention delegation also expressed concern.